5×5: Flaneur by Jonny Abraham

5×5 features five photographs by five photographers, usually curated around a specific subject matter, selected by a guest editor.

My name is Jonny Abraham, and I’m a recent graduate of Parsons the New School for Design with a BFA in photography. My most recent body of work, The Nature of the Beast, was landscape photography, which was centered around Baudelaire’s ideas of the flâneur. Travel is inherent in any form of landscape photography. The photographers that I’ve selected are all observers of their respective habitats, again, similar to the flâneur, or “gentlemen stroller of city streets”. Strolling throughout the city provides these artists with a heightened sense of perception, which in turn is conducive to producing landscape images.

You can see Jonny’s work here.

Zuma John Divola 1977
John Divola

John Divola produced a series in the late ’70s where he snuck into abandoned houses on the beaches of Malibu and photographed their interiors with a flash. He often spray painted cryptic looking lines on the walls of the houses, as well as throwing objects found in the houses into the photograph. He’s displaying an interaction with his environment.

Southeast corner, Semicoa, 333 McCormick, Costa Mesa (from The new industrial parks near Irvine, California) Lewis Baltz 1974
Southeast corner, Semicoa, 333 McCormick, Costa Mesa (from The new industrial parks near Irvine, California)
Lewis Baltz

Lewis Baltz, also a west coast photographer, shot Los Angeles during the late 60s and 70s. Being a crucial figure in the New Topographics movement, he focused on ideas of how mankind has effected the landscape. His images are quite simple and geometric, with much of his content consisting of structures that are in the process of being built rather than finished buildings.

Los Angeles Adam Bartos 1978
Los Angeles
Adam Bartos

To keep it going with the Californian theme, next up is Adam Bartos. His work almost seems like if William Eggleston grew up in California rather than Memphis. Bartos’ work contains obvious evidence of walking around, often going from interior views to subtle, quiet landscapes. Bartos has been known to say that he began using photography as a tool to observe and “habituating himself to his new environs.” (Suzanne Hudson, Artforum February 2007)

from East Broadway Breakdown
Christopher Wool

Christopher Wool is well known for his large scale typographic paintings. He also produced a series of photographs entitled “East Broadway Breakdown” where he shot gritty images of the Lower East Side. The images are very harsh and contrasty, much different from the lush colorful images of the previous photographers, and Wool seems very similar to japanese photographers like Moriyama.

from Summer Nights, Walking Robert Adams 1976-1982
from Summer Nights, Walking
Robert Adams

Robert Adams is the ultimate stroller. Also a key member of the New Topographic movement, his work was made in the west coast of America, with his body of work Summer Nights, Walking was made in Longmont, Colorado in 1985. This book always makes me consider my own neighborhood, and even though my home town is far from Colorado, Adams has seemed to extract the essence of solitary night-time strolls.